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The Power of God

The Book of Acts  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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The power of God: 1. Overcomes the worst conditions (vs. 12-16). 2. Outrages God's enemies (vs. 17-18). 3. Opens prison doors (vs. 19-25). 4. Obligates us to the highest devotion (vs. 26-29).

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The Power of God

Acts 5:12-29

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church – Aug. 18, 2013

INTRODUCTION:

*Back in Exodus 15, the Lord had just brought Moses and the Children of Israel safely through the Red Sea.

1. Then Moses and the children of Israel sang this song to the Lord, and spoke, saying: "I will sing to the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously! The horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea!

2. The Lord is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation; He is my God, and I will praise Him; my father's God, and I will exalt Him.

3. The Lord is a man of war; the Lord is His name.

4. Pharaoh's chariots and his army He has cast into the sea; His chosen captains also are drowned in the Red Sea.

5. The depths have covered them; they sank to the bottom like a stone.

6. Your right hand, O Lord, has become glorious in power; Your right hand, O Lord, has dashed the enemy in pieces.

7. And in the greatness of Your excellence You have overthrown those who rose against You; You sent forth Your wrath which consumed them like stubble.

*Then in Exodus 15:11, they sang: "Who is like You, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like You, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?"

*"Who is like You, O Lord?" -- Nobody! Nobody is like our God! And here in Acts 15, we see another great display of His power.

1. What can we say about the power of God? -- First of all: It can overcome the worst conditions.

[1] For example here, God's power can overcome every sickness.

*We see this truth in vs. 12-16:

12. And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people. And they were all with one accord in Solomon's Porch.

13. Yet none of the rest dared join them, but the people esteemed them highly.

14. And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women,

15. so that they brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them.

16. Also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem, bringing sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all healed.

*Wow! In vs. 15, they were hoping for even the shadow of Peter to fall on them. And in vs. 16, they were all healed! But we know the healing power didn't come from Peter's shadow. The power came from God! And Peter would be the first one to say it.

*The key to understanding all of these miracles is back in Matthew 10:1. There the Bible tells us that when Jesus "had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease."

*This was a miraculous dispensation of God's power to give witness to the truth about Jesus Christ. And of course, it's not like that today. If it was, then the headline in tomorrow's paper would be: "M.D. Anderson emptied of all patients!"

*God may be working in a different way today, but let me ask you something: Did God give up some of His power? Of course not! Is God on vacation? No! Our God is infinitely great, and He is always on the job.

*If we could really see, we would see God at work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for His Kingdom, His glory and His people. Many of us can look back and see how the Lord worked in amazing ways in our own lives.

(At this point, we heard a miraculous testimony from one of our members.)

[2] God's power can overcome every sickness. -- And it can overcome every sin.

*Our God can heal our sicknesses. But infinitely more important, He can heal our souls. We see this truth in vs. 14, as "believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women."

*Naturally, all physical healing in this world is temporary. But when you put your trust in the cross of Jesus Christ, when you believe in Jesus, when you receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you get a healing that will last forever!

*I have been thinking about my dad lately. He died of lung cancer and heart failure this month, 37 years ago. Dad was only 55. We prayed for a physical healing that did not come. But my dad had the healing of the soul that lasts forever! I was with my dad on the morning He died, and the Lord was there with him too. Jesus took my dad home that day, and I know I will see him again.

*F. B. Meyer was a very well-known preacher in London, England. Meyer got very sick and was near death when he wrote these words to a friend: "They tell me that I have only a few days to live. It may be that before this letter reaches you, I shall have entered the palace of the King. Don't bother to write, I'll see you in the morning." (1)

*Many times our God gives physical healing. But He will always give spiritual healing to those who trust in Him.

2. God's power can overcome the worst conditions. It also outrages God's enemies.

*This truth is mind boggling, but we see it on display in vs. 17-18. Notice the reaction of the hard-hearted Jewish rulers when they heard about the wonderful healings:

17. Then the high priest rose up, and all those who were with him (which is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with indignation,

18. and laid their hands on the apostles and put them in the common prison.

*We wonder: How could anybody oppose all the good things that were going on? People were being healed of all kinds of terrible diseases. People were being delivered from the torment of evil spirits. People were being saved! How could anyone oppose that? But the wicked rulers in Jerusalem did.

*Verses 27-28 help us see why:

27. And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest asked them,

28. saying, "Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man's blood on us!''

*Their hard-hearted response to Jesus takes us back to John 12:37-41, where the Apostle John wrote:

37. But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him:

38. That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?

39. Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again,

40. He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.

41. These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him.

*These verses are a further testimony to the power and sovereignty of our God. They are also a testimony to the danger of rejecting Jesus Christ. J. Vernon McGee explained: "Because they would not accept Jesus, there came the day when they could not accept Him. My friend, the most dangerous thing in the world is to hear the gospel and then turn your back on it.

*If you just go on listening and listening, and do not accept it and act upon it. There comes the time when you cannot hear and you cannot see. God is God, and it is He who has the final word." (2)

*Obviously, these men were also blinded by Satan, blinded by sin, and blinded by their own selfishness. Sadly, much of the world lives under the control of Christ-rejecting people today. And their influence has grown much stronger in our own government. The long downhill slide continues, but victory belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ! No Government on earth can defeat our God!

3. But God's power outrages His enemies. -- It also opens prison doors.

*We see this great truth in the miracle that took place in vs. 19-21. The apostles were locked up in the common prison:

19. But at night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said,

20. "Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life.''

21. And when they heard that, they entered the temple early in the morning and taught. . .

*No prison on earth could have held the Apostles in, if God wanted them to be free! He is greater than any government. So notice how confused the rulers were in vs. 21-25:

21. And when they (i.e. the Apostles) heard that, they entered the temple early in the morning and taught. But the high priest and those with him came and called the council together, with all the elders of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought.

22. But when the officers came and did not find them in the prison, they returned and reported,

23. saying, "Indeed we found the prison shut securely, and the guards standing outside before the doors; but when we opened them, we found no one inside!''

24. Now when the high priest, the captain of the temple, and the chief priests heard these things, they wondered what the outcome would be.

25. Then one came and told them, saying, "Look, the men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people!''

*Ungodly people may plot and plan against the Lord and His followers, but all of their schemes will fail in the end. We see this truth in the Psalm the church quoted back in Acts 4, when they were praying to the Lord.

*Their memory verses were from Psalm 2, which says:

1. Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?

2. The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying,

3. Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.

4. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.

5. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.

*God is greater than any government, so no prison on earth could have held the Apostles in, when God wanted them to be free! But notice that God set the Apostles free for a reason. The Lord wanted them to keep sharing the good news about Jesus Christ.

*That was the main reason for the miracles here. That's why God sent an angel to open the prison doors. And that's why in vs. 20, the angel told them to "Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life.''

*God wanted them to keep sharing the good news about Jesus. And He wants us to do the same thing today, because everybody needs to hear "the words of this life.'' What doors are keeping you from telling people the good news about Jesus? We can speak to people all the words of this life!

*John Ortberg gave this testimony: "Some time ago I was visiting my parents and went to get a haircut at a shop they recommended. I started praying . . . and ended up having a long conversation about God and faith with Ted, the barber. Ted owned the shop along with his wife Joanne, who normally cut my mother's hair.

*I told my mom about my conversation with Ted and suggested that the next time she got her hair done, she should talk to Joanne about God. She said no, that she knew a fair amount of Joanne's story; Joanne was on her fifth husband and this was marriage number three for him. They knew how to party and how to spend money. But there was nothing about their life to indicate any openness to God.

*"You should talk to her anyway," I said. (You don't often get a chance to tell your mother what to do with such spiritual authority.)

*The next time my mom went into the shop, she prayed silently: "God, if you want me to talk to Joanne about you, you're going to have to give me some kind of sign, because I don't want to do it." Joanne's first words to my mom were, "Kathy, I understand that you and your husband have some kind of small group Bible study at your house. Ted and I were wondering if we could come visit it sometime." My mom took that as a sign.

*Joanne began to tell her story about her troubled family and her heavy drinking that started when she was 16. But on that day, God turned Joanne's life around. She and her husband Ted began to open their hearts to the presence of God. A hair salon was the place where the presence of God became real." (3)

*God set the Apostles free to share the gospel. And by His power, God also sets us free to share the gospel.

4. His power opens prison doors. -- We just need to go through those doors, because God's power also obligates us to the highest devotion.

*Peter reminds us of this truth in vs. 26-29:

26. Then the captain went with the officers and brought them without violence, for they feared the people, lest they should be stoned.

27. And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest asked them,

28. saying, "Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man's blood on us!''

29. Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said: "We ought to obey God rather than men.

*In vs. 28, the high priest asked them: "Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man's blood on us!'' And in vs. 29, Peter and the other apostles answered and said: "We ought to obey God rather than men."

CONCLUSION:

*It doesn't get any clearer than that: "We ought to obey God rather than men." So whatever opposition we may face, we must continue to share the gospel. And we can share the gospel, knowing that the power of God will be with us.

*The power of God:

-Overcomes the worst conditions.

-Outrages His enemies.

-Opens prison doors.

-And it obligates us to the highest devotion.

*With all of this in mind, let's go to God in prayer.

(1) Sermons.com sermon "The Living Hope" by Edward Inabinet - 1 Peter 1:1-12

(2) Adapted from "Through the Bible with J. Vernon McGee" - "Jesus Comes to the End of His Public Ministry - John 12:37-41

(3) Adapted from Ortberg, John – "God is Closer Than You Think." Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005, p. 114-116 – Source: Sermonillustrator.org

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